Tag: burlesque

REVIEW: Becky Lou in SHAKE

Sexy, funny, resolute and resounding

By Myron My

Fittingly having her Melbourne premiere of Shake at iconic venue The Butterfly Club, Becky Lou lives up to her show’s title. Twirling tassels, bouncing breasts and jiggling buttocks; there is a lot of shaking going on. However, there is more to this show than just sexy and entertaining burlesque routines, as they are interspersed with Becky Lou’s musings on significant moments in her life that have led to her career as a burlesque performer.

Shake

Shake is a well-crafted show that allows Becky Lou to expose herself in more than just the literal sense. Beginning with memories of her four-year-old self dancing topless in a supermarket to Madonna’s Like A Virgin, each story that Becky Lou shares has a purpose. It’s not for entertainment value, it’s not to shock us, but it’s to strengthen the relationship women have with their bodies.

Women are being constantly told to cover up yet to “show us ya tits”, are made to feel imperfect yet subjected to continuous sexual harassment. What Becky Lou does with Shake is invite women to reclaim their bodies, to own their bodies and be proud of them. In this regard, Shake reminded me of a similarly beautiful and thought-provoking show in Maude Davey’s My Life In The Nude.

Like so many burlesque performers, these women should not be congratulated or fawned over for being “brave” about performing nude. They should be admired for being strong women who love their bodies and for taking power away from the male gaze. Becky Lou shares stories from her life in a non-confrontational way so that she does not create a divide with the audience. With a fine balance of comedy timing and frustration and derision towards a patriarchal society, we are all equally disgusted when she informs us of the policeman who wolf-whistled at her when she was just fourteen.

The burlesque routines in Shake highlight the skill and creativity that had Becky Lou crowned Miss Burlesque Victoria in 2013, among numerous other titles. She captures the sexiness and the mischief of the art form but each number is unique in style, costume and the character that she takes. The most memorable ones of the evening were her opening and closing numbers, the latter bringing her story full circle and the former showing us exactly why she is a force to be reckoned with in the world of burlesque.

Shake is more than just a show to titillate or excite us. There is heart and truth in the stories that Becky Lou shares with us, and in the message that she wants to get across. At one point, she confesses that she is most nervous about using her voice in the show because it’s not something she usually does in burlesque. She needn’t be nervous at all though, because we are enthralled by every word she says just as much as every item of clothing she removes.

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Season: Until 12 July | Thur-Sat 9:00pm, Sunday 8:00pm
Tickets: $32 Full | $28 Conc
Bookings: The Butterfly Club
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REVIEW: Miss Everheart Presents EARLY BURLY

Hilarity in high-heels

By Narelle Wood

Who wouldn’t love to sit back, cocktail in hand, and watch a tasteful striptease to finish off the week? Miss Everheart Presents: Early Burly is a sophisticatedly risqué combination of cabaret, comedy and burlesque presented by Miss Adelaide Everheart.

Early Burly

The show was comprised of four tantalising performers including the very flexible Caterina Vitt, smouldering Ainslie Adams, the comedic musical stylings of Anya Anastasia, and the crude, lewd and lame joke-teller herself, Miss Adelaide Everheart.

Throughout the hour we were treated to stripteases inspired by the Paso Doble and old-world glamour. Amongst my favourites for the evening was Caterina Vitt’s geek chic-inspired strip that would be very well placed on an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Although it did feel a little uncomfortable laughing at someone while they took their clothes off, the blend of Vitt’s facial expressions and choreography made the routine a slapstick burlesque delight.

While Ainslie Adams’ performance was glamorous, with stunning sequined frocks, suspender belts and sequined undergarments to match, Anya Anastasia went a direction all of her own. Providing some cabaret interludes to the burlesque, Anastasia treated us to an interesting rendition of “Mr Cellophane” and her early Marie Antoinette impersonation was dead on.

The theatre was packed, which is a testament to how entertaining the Early Burly is, but it did mean it was difficult to see at times, especially during Vitt’s floor choreography, but this was a small glitch in an otherwise thoroughly joyous alternative to Friday night drinks. Early Burly is definitely a show to catch next time round, which according to Miss Everheart is in May. From the burlesque beginner to aficionado Miss Everheart Presents: Early Burly is all-round great fun.

Venue: The Butterfly Club
Bookings: www.thebutterflyclub.com.au

REVIEW: Drawing Straws at THE BUTTERFLY CLUB

Life drawing gets glamorous

By Christine Moffat

drawing_straws

Drawing Straws is a life-drawing class crossed with a burlesque salon that takes place in the downstairs parlour of The Butterfly Club.  Surrounded by knick-knacks and trinkets, seated on comfy cushions, the friendly organiser Sarah Pemberton takes the group through some ‘drawing star jumps’.  This is right and left-hand drawing exercises of fully-clothed quick poses from Sarah and sometimes volunteers.  It’s a workout for your hands and eyes to get you limbered up for the main event.

These sessions are for people with varied levels of artistic skill and experience.  You are asked to show your drawings to the group, which can be daunting at first.  Be brave, they’re kind!  You may be surprised at what people admire in your work, as difference is valued.  Also, the room is an intimate space and it starts to feel quite private after a few minutes.

The next part of the evening is the ‘main event’.  A fabulous burlesque artist performs a song for the group, and is then your life model for the rest of the evening.  There is a different performer every week, and our group was graced with the beautiful and talented Autumn Evergreen.

It’s not exactly a drop-in class – you need to let them know you’re coming – but you are not tied into going every week.  This reviewer recommends that you go with a friend, grab one of The Butterfly Club’s many delicious cocktails, and be prepared for an entertaining night.  The feel of the evening is very low key, with drawing and chatting with the model and each other being the main focus.  It’s a lot of fun, and a good way to give your creativity a night out on the town in style!

Tuesday nights 7 – 9pm

The Butterfly Club

12 Carson Place (off Little Collins St) Melbourne

Cost $15.00 (includes help of professional tutors, drawing materials plus a performance)

All bookings & enquiries phone 0434 555 075

REVIEW: Jessamae St James is TIED UP

Bending and bonding over cabaret

By Myron My

It’s always a risky move when a performer takes an unsuspecting audience member on stage and makes him get down on all fours so she can sit on him. But when that audience member is your reviewer, you better damn well hope you have a great show to move on with!

Tied Up

Fortunately, burlesque performer Jessamae St James does have just that, and in the context of her show my participation was quite – er – tame… As part of this year’s Melbourne Cabaret Festival, Tied Up looks at fetishes and BDSM, including ‘forniphilia’ – a form of bondage and sexual objectification in which a person’s body (namely mine) is incorporated into a piece of furniture.

Wearing a black, body-hugging corset, St James easily captures the audience’s attention as she talks and sings her way through some more lesser-known but just as intriguing fetishes. Once the sometimes lengthy monologue describing each fetish is completed St James breaks into a song and this is where she truly does shine.

Her voice is sultry and seductive, and appropriately, she nails each and every number she sings. Moreover, St James is joined on stage by an amazing four-piece jazz band whose skill and talent take the musical aspect of this show to a whole new level.

St James does create a highly intimate and sensual environment overall, but considering the obvious impact of the music and her vocal ability, I feel less talking and more songs would have kept the enjoyment level of this show at a maximum.

I must als0 admit I would have liked to have been confronted even more with Tied Up. St James is discussing some highly sexual and often taboo themes and it would have been great to see her push some of those boundaries herself on stage, which I am sure she would be capable of doing, given her exciting performance history.

Having said that, Tied Up is still a highly entertaining show, I made a particularly fine stage seat, and I’m certainly keen to see where St James dares to go from here…

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 256 Collins St (entry via Carson Place), Melbourne

Season: Until 7 July | Sat 7:00pm, Sun 6:00pm.

Tickets: $28 Full | $25 Conc

Bookings: http://melbournecabaret.com

REVIEW: Hello Kitty Flanagan for MICF

Hello Kitty Flanagan – nice to meet you

By Deborah Langley

Kitty Flanagan has been around the comedy traps for years but it has taken regular appearances on shows like The Project to elevate her to arguably the hottest Australia female comedian in the festival this year.

Kitty opens with reminders as to why we should be seeing more stand-up as opposed to other types of theatre, flying the flag for fellow comedians.

Kitty Flanagan

She takes a tongue-in-cheek swing at cabaret, and the follies of trying to get audience members involved when they clearly don’t want to, and examines the rise of burlesque (punt intended), highlighting that it is really just nudity with craft.

So even before she officially starts “her show”, Kitty managers to have the audience in the palm of her hand with effortless musings of these other forms of entertainment.

Although her show is definitely not cabaret, she does allow us into her world of single-dom, dating men, being a crazy cat lady and the degradation of female representation in rap music and on the streets, cheekily quipping that with the short-short skirts and crazy high heels, ‘you just don’t know who is charging for it and who is giving it away for free.’

But it’s not just women that will get a kick out of this show. Kitty managers to give observational humour a new lease on life with her lightning-fast delivery and even quicker wit.

For those of you that really can’t see a show that’s not cabaret, Kitty won’t disappoint closing with a medley of songs that will leave you in hysterics. Accompanied by sister Penny Flanagan (that’s Kitty’s sister – not a nun…) the two perform beautifully together providing harmonious melodies with stand-up mixed in.

So if you are after an hour (was it really only that long?) full of laughs, you really can’t go past this fresh, easy and hilarious show.

Dates: April 9-21 7pm (6pm Sundays)

Venue: The Athaneum Theatre

Tickets: $35 – $39, Online, Ticketek 132 849, at the venue 9650 1500 or at the door

Submissions Now Open For SHORT+SWEET CABARET 2011

So… what can you do with ten minutes?

This month marks the annual return of one of the most exciting and challenging cabaret opportunities Melbourne has to offer, as submissions open for this year’s Short+Sweet Cabaret.

The ‘biggest little play festival in the world’ also includes theatre, dance and song programs, but Short+Sweet Cabaret has proven to be a particularly creative and invigorating development for the festival in Melbourne.

As the festival’s name suggests, successful applicants only have ten minutes in which to perform their cabaret piece and showcase their talents.

Whether it’s burlesque or vaudeville, hilariously comic or thrillingly creepy, New York-style or cabaret noir, festival director Emma Clair Ford (herself an accomplished and award-winning Melbourne cabaret artist) is welcoming submissions in any cabaret form. 

Short+Sweet Cabaret Festival 2011 will be held at Chapel Off Chapel in Prahran from October 26th to November 6th.

The festival functions as a platform for artists to present new, emerging and recent works to both industry professionals and an enthusiastic audience, and Ford has revealed that she is particularly looking for ‘fresh and well thought-out ideas’.

Porcelin Punch: Photo by Rebecca Humphries

There are not only the judges’ and people’s choice awards to be won, but Short+Sweet is also an invaluable chance to gain significant recognition and explore further networking and performance possibilities.

Previous festival winners and participants have included Porcelin Punch Travelling Medicine Show (pictured), song-writer and comedian Geraldine Quinn, Chants Des Catecombes’ Anna Boulic, Hannah Williams as Mercedes Benz and The Jane Austen Argument‘s Tom Dickins.

To enter a submission:

  • Simply email a 100 word or less description of your proposed 10-minute cabaret concept to emma@shortandsweet.org
  • Include your name, phone number, cast and creative team, and a list of any props, technical and musical requirements.

Submissions close on Friday September 9th 2011.

For more information please visit www.shortandsweet.org

REVIEW: Stage Fright!

Whodunnit doesn’t quite do it…

By Lisa Nightingale

Coming into The Order of Melbourne and seeing the beautiful stage, magnificent bar, and cute kitsch burlesque shop set up in the corner, I was all too excited to experience a ‘rollicking night of 1920’s theatre, burlesque, song,  dance, murder, mystery and madness.’ 

Certainly the venue is lovely and the Pims and sangria are well-priced and delicious. Unfortunately for the show itself, this clever marketing is, well …  just clever marketing. 

Stage Fright! certainly has its good points, but they are nestled somewhere in amongst what is a mostly average script and performance.  The story and dialogue seem disjointed, and I felt music numbers were dropped in just to be there. Songs about Santa’s wife and a burlesque dance in a straight jacket simply did not add in any way to the style of a  ‘whodunnit’ 1920’s murder mystery.

Luckily Sarah Louise Younger kicked butt (burlesque-style) with her amazing voice, and I was blown away by her presence whilst she was singing. However,  I was also blown away for opposing reasons by the sound and lighting during her song, as the poor girl could barely be heard or seen in her dynamic opening piece, ‘Life of the Party’.

I was also very surprised that direction for this number seemed just to be “Do it like Idina Menzel on YouTube.” Nonetheless, Younger shows amazing vocal talent, and we’ll see her name continue to be showcased around the Melbourne theatre scene.

The Stage Fright! atmosphere created by Alexander Tournier (Mark Casamento) was brilliant. His role as the owner of the ‘Queen Mary Theatre’ was the highlight of the show, and Casamento was consistently superb throughout. He did not lose character or drop his accent once: something the other performers could note.

Poppy Cherry did a fantastic job as producer, for marketing and advertising were level one. As heroine Fanny Pocket, her beautiful smile and cheeky vibrancy made for a delightful performance and almost allowed us to forgive some unpolished acting skills. Honey B. Goode was a favourite with the audience, and gave a comedic performance as her vaguely Eastern European character. She is a great burlesque dancer and I only wish we saw more ‘dance’ and less over-characterisation.

Miss Burlesque Australia Kelly Ann Doll was very funny dealing with her audience, plays ‘drunk’ well and shines on stage, though I was looking forward to her showing us ‘how burlesque is done’ and was left unsatisfied.  As with several artists, a feeling persisted that over-characterisation got in the way of the show itself.

However, the performers did a good job as a whole, and the costumes were truly fantastic. The concept of Stage Fright! is so exciting and intriguing that I believe with some review by the creative team over direction and script, this show will soon be so much more – but at this stage it seems like just a ‘concept’ and not a finished piece of theatre.  All in all though, for a Sunday night out with a few drinks, it was still worth the trip into Swanston street.

Stage Fright! is on 8pm this Sunday May 22nd: tickets are $30 through Moshtix.